Parliament needs 2/3rd of MPs to decide on Adwoa Safo, Ken Agyapong and Quartey; this is unlikely – Ephson

Pollster and Managing Editor of the Daily Dispatch, Ben Ephson has said that Parliament is unlikely to get the two thirds of members to take a decision on the three New Patriotic Party (NPP) Members of Parliament who have been referred to the Privileges’ Committee by the Speaker Alban Bagbin.

Mr Ephson indicated that if the Privileges’ Committee concludes its work and presents the report to the House for a decision to be taken, the Legislature will require two thirds of the lawmakers act on the committee’s report.

“If this motion goes through you will need 2/3rds of Parliament and that is unlikely. This is Bagbin’s interpretation,” he told Alfred Ocansey on the Sunrise show on 3FM Wednesday April 6.

In Parliament on Tuesday April 5, Speaker Bagbin defended his decision to act on a petition against the MPs, brought before him by a former Kumbungu lawmaker, Ras Mubarak.

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This was after National Democratic Congress (NDC) MP Muntaka Mubarak challenged his ruling.

The MPs are Kennedy Agyapong, MP for Assin Central; Sarah Adwoa Safo, Dome Kwabenya; and Henry Quartey, Ayawaso Central.

But Muntaka contested the Speaker’s ruling and said if the decision is allowed to stand, it will set a dangerous precedence which can be used by a “dictator speaker” in future to hurt lawmakers.

“If we allow this to stand it will become precedent, tomorrow it may hurt all of us,” he said.

Replying Muntaka’s submission, the Speaker said “You don’t want speaker to be a dictator but you are prepared to create room for committees to be dictators. When the committee decides then that is it.

“The matter is before the House, it is not just before the Committee. I can’t come and sit here to declare a seat vacant without following a procedure.”

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He added that the matter will be submitted to the House and the House will take a decision on its report.

“Privilege’s committee, you are so directed, handle the matter, report back to the House,” Mr Bagbin said.

Ben Ephson said Muntaka’s actions show that Parliamentary democracy has been deepened.

“Ghana’s democracy has grown overtime and I think Muntaka has done very well. I am sure the matter will end up in the Supreme court for interpretation,” he said.

Ras Mubarak petitioned the Speaker to discipline these lawmakers for absenting themselves from Parliament without permission.

In his petition, he said “It has come to my notice through parliament’s Hansard, and newspaper and radio reports that some four Members of Parliament, namely Hon. Sarah Adwoa Safo, MP for Dome-Kwabenya; Hon. Henry Quartey, MP for Ayawaso Central; Hon. Ebenezer Kojo Kum, MP for Ahanta West; and Hon. Ken Ohene Agyapong, MP for Assin Central have all absented themselves from Parliament for more
than fifteen sittings of a meeting of Parliament without the permission of Mr. Speaker in writing.

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“In view of this reported breach of the constitutional provision, I respectfully petition your high office to direct for their conduct to be referred to the Privileges Committee for consideration and necessary action.”

By Laud Nartey||Ghana


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